In October 2018, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors appointed Aileen Cassinetto to the honorary post of Poet Laureate. Aileen is the third (and first Asian American) Poet Laureate of San Mateo County and will serve a two-year term beginning on January 1, 2019. Her role as Poet Laureate is to elevate poetry among San Mateo County residents and to celebrate the literary arts by making poetry more accessible to people in their everyday lives.
Widely anthologized, Aileen is the author of the poetry collections, Traje de Boda and The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems, as well as three chapbooks through Moria Books’ acclaimed Locofo series. She is also the publisher of Paloma Press, an independent literary press established in 2016 which has released 17 books to date.
I began my two-year term on January 1st of this year with a vision of what I hope to achieve. I am thrilled to carry on the wonderful poetic legacy of my predecessors and have worked hard to start my term off with impactful programming and community connections. I’ve visited schools, city halls, churches, and the county jail to share my work; launched my “Speak Poetry” campaign, and promoted my events on NBC Bay Area and PenTV, and publications such as The Six Fifty, Half Moon Bay Review, and Redwood City Climate Magazine. I have also been a featured speaker at the College of San Mateo and at Skyline College, and collaborated with other poets to help raise awareness on issues such as women’s rights, environmental protection, prevention of cruelty to animals, gun control, rehabilitation of prisoners through poetry, and mental health and suicide prevention. As the county’s first foreign-born and Asian American Poet Laureate, I also participated in the 10th Annual CSM Asian Pacific American Film Festival (which was a momentous event for a panethnic group that has, for so long, endured a lack of representation, especially in the film industry). In May, I was deeply honored to have been invited to read my poem in memory of those who died in service of our country at the 78th Annual Memorial Day Observance at the Golden Gate National Cemetery. And in September, with the support of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, the San Mateo County Arts Commission, the San Mateo County Libraries, and Poets Laureate Emeriti Caroline Goodwin and Lisa Rosenberg, I organized a convening of Bay Area Poets Laureate for a full day conference which culminated with a public poetry reading. Moving forward, I am working on projects that will highlight more local poets, facilitate community-building through poetry, and ensure the sustainability and longevity of said projects.
To contact: write[at]aileencassinetto.com or through the form below: